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June 13, 2024
Kampala Daily
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UPDF soldier shoots fisherman dead on Lake Kyoga

A tragic incident occurred on the shores of Lake Kyoga on May 1, where a fisherman was shot dead by a soldier from the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), specifically from the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU). The authorities have confirmed this event.

The unfortunate incident took place during an operation at Kitwe landing site on Lake Kyoga. The soldier, S/Sgt Moses Niwagira, fired at Charles Wanya, causing his immediate death. This was shared by the deputy defence public information officer, Col Deo Akiiki.

The UPDF reported that the fisherman tried to attack the soldier with an oar, which led to the soldier firing in self-defence. During the altercation, Niwagira was injured on the arm. He attempted to fire a warning shot into the air, but the bullet struck Wanya in the head, resulting in his death.

Lt Rauben Ndifula, the spokesperson for the FPU, stated that Niwagira is currently in custody along with 12 other suspects. The police are continuing their investigations.

The FPU was established as a branch of the UPDF in 2017 by Uganda. The aim was to enhance the economic potential of the fisheries sector, which had been plagued by widespread illegal fishing activities. However, the FPU’s operations have been tainted by allegations of extortion and deadly force.

Recently, Felix Okot Ogong, a lawmaker from Dokolo South, accused the FPU of illicitly extracting money from vulnerable communities in a conversation with President Museveni. The President acknowledged that they had permitted even foreigners to exploit the lakes, leading to the depletion of young fish stocks. This was the reason for the army’s involvement.

However, the President assured that he would engage with elders from the fishing communities to find solutions before withdrawing the military from these areas. He expressed his desire to be guided by those living near the lakes to identify the culprits responsible for the lake’s degradation, so that the army could eventually withdraw. He expressed this sentiment during a campaign, indicating that these meetings would take place in May or June.

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